Driving Awareness and Trial of a New Menu Item through Earned and Paid Media Opportunities

Noodles & Company is a national fast-casual restaurant chain that serves noodle dishes inspired by flavors from around the world. To continue to build awareness of its healthier, plant-based menu options, Noodles debuted a new cauliflower-infused rigatoni — called the Caulifloodle — making Noodles the first fast-casual chain to offer a cauliflower noodle dish at restaurants nationwide.

Client
Services
Communications Strategy & Planning
Integrated Marketing Communications
Industry
Multi-Unit Restaurants
Awards
2020 Silver Pick Award

CHallenge

Noodles & Company tasked Linhart PR with generating national, local and trade news to drive Caulifloodles awareness and trial that would:

  • Bring back lapsed guests
  • Attract new guests
  • And increase frequency among current guests as well

Solution

Taking advantage of the fall Caulifloodles launch, Linhart PR seeded a two-pronged media campaign around the seasonality and health benefits of cauliflower. Earned media outreach was balanced with strategic, paid media opportunities to ensure wide-reaching national and key local market coverage.

The plan included three strategies:

  1. National broadcast: Developed an enticing audience giveaway offer to encourage national broadcast talk shows to promote Caulifloodles to a nationwide audience
  2. In-person trial and food images: To ensure NYC-based national outlets could try the new Caulifloodles in a market without Noodles restaurants, Linhart PR booked a Times Square studio to offer special in-person tastings and recipe demos with Noodles’ executive chef. Linhart PR also sent customized pitches with dish images to secure earned national and trade coverage of Caulifloodles
  3. Syndicated, key local market opportunities: Delivered key Caulifloodles messages to local markets nationwide via syndicated opportunities including a satellite TV and radio tour using the Noodles chef (filmed at the same Times Square studio booked by Linhart PR) and a branded MAT release that featured tips on how to make a plant-based diet more flavorful

Results

Through the integrated earned and paid media campaign, the team secured coverage on the national stage, including major talk show features, and on local TV and in print outlets in top Noodles restaurant markets.

In total, 2,950 stories reached more than 277 million consumers with Caulifloodles news. These wins included:

  • 2 national broadcast segments on The Talk on CBS and Good Morning America’s Strahan, Sara and Keke, resulting in more than 2.8 million impressions. Plus, GMA featured Caulifloodles on the show’s Instagram story, reaching an additional 162,000 consumers
  • A tasting and photo shoot with Thrillist and a recipe video demo with The Daily Meal that drove 6 national online stories and nearly 42 million impressions
  • 6 trade publication placements, for a total of 1.5 million+ impressions
  • 25 local market TV and radio interview segments with the Noodles chef, for a total of 1,848 airings across 1,846 stations and 5 websites, reaching more than 19 million viewers and listeners with key messages
  • 1,088 placements of the Caulifloodles-focused MAT release feature article in some of the country’s largest newspapers, including the Chicago Tribune and Los Angeles Times, reaching 212 million+ consumers

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